UVA’s Logan Michaels hit his first home run of the season in the third inning and went 3-4 with two RBIs as Virginia machined over the Vols in Tennessee’s first game of the College World Series.
Michael’s third-inning home run gave Virginia a 1-0 lead that the Cavs held through six innings. But he wasn’t done yet. In the top of the seventh, Michaels singled in a run and simultaneously kicked off a streak of four-straight UVA base knocks that extended the ‘Hoos lead to 5-0.
UVA tacked on another run in the 9th, but everything after the first run ended up gravy — the one-zip lead would have one the trick.
The Tennessee offense that carried the team through most of the season just didn’t quite show up. Instead, it seemed like the Vols spent the game pressing. They never got a good handle on the strike zone and became their own worst enemy by swinging at pitches out of the zone. And still, UT had of chances to score runs but managed just three hits in 16 chances with runners on base and stranded all eight baserunners. That’s all pretty atypical for a team that’s come up with big hits on big stages numerous times this season.
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t mean to minimize the collective outing from UVA’s pitching staff. Starter Andrew Abbott pitched out of jams in the first, fifth and sixth innings, while he struck out 10, scattered five hits and surrendered just one walk. He was exceptional. It’s no wonder he leads in the NCAA in strikeouts and pitched seven innings with 16Ks of UVA’s collective no-hitter against Wake Forest earlier this season. Reliever Matt Wyatt continued his strong play this postseason by shutting the metaphorical door with three innings of scoreless ball. Wyatt surrendered just one hit and one walk while striking out three.
Tennessee now faces an uphill battle playing out of the loser’s bracket. Texas/ Mississippi State play tonight at 7 PM, and the Vols play the loser of that game on Tuesday at 2 PM.